Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seventh part of the Viking Weaving Saga!

Getting all tightened up and ready to roll - oh, weave!

Having the loom all dressed and the warp looking nice and smooth after a final tightening of the knots by the front apron it was now time to start weaving. I started out with an inch of just trying out the pattern (had set it up for a simple herring bone) and used a contrasting colour so I could see that my threading really was in order and this first little inch also helped me get the warp evened out before the actual weaving of the piece began.

From here on really it was quite a piece of pie - ah  pecan pie - it seems once the weaving begins it never takes too long before the end is neigh.

I did use a temple to keep the same width all the way from start to finish of the warp. Was first introduced to the practical use of this gizmo when I went to Vavstuga last summer. Had never thought I really would have any use for ‘assistance’ of this kind, but..... live and learn and I had to recognize that temples can be magnificently helpful and that there really is a time and a place for them.

As I get going on the weaving I feel high as a kite. I love the look of the fabric as it unfolds in front of my eyes and as the layers double up on the front beam my eyes rejoice and squint with glee as I check out how far I have gotten in this ‘sitting’ at the loom.
When working with the handspun singles it isn’t a rare occasion to have to get up and sort out warp threads which are loosing their grip, and so a good stash of pins within reach of the weaving bench is a must.

When the piece is then taken off the loom, each end which needs to be secured is easily found, since they are all wrapped safely around a pin, which can just be pulled out, and the ends can then be sewed in. The repair work happens before the washing/fulling - this way the fabric will move itself around and the repair work will not be visible.

A very useful tip which I learned when Laura Fry taught here in Nova Scotia in 2006 - a while back, but the two Magic in the Water  courses I partook in then surely has helped me along many times since then. (Check it out on her website, click 'store' and there it is, magically so!)

After all these ends were securely fastened I filled up the bathtub with warmish water and a very small drop of synthrapol. I wanted to get rid of a little bit of the lanolin but not all of it, since the vikings surely had very lanolin rich fabrics - well, - now I have to think there are so many variables.

When they dyed their fleece/yarns/fabrics the lanolin would be almost gone, since they did have to put it through a rigorous cleaning process for the dyes to take properly - but ......... well, guess work really as it was a while ago now, wasn’t it! 
Here is the surface of the finished fabric, the contrast between the light brown weft and the grey warp shows up the twill pattern nicely in this piece.

And one more bath picture, the other 'curtain' had a white weft, slightly heavier than the brown one in the first piece. Another wondrous colour combination and texture.

The pieces are now nicely folded up and are awaiting their journey to L'Anse aux Meadows.
Please go to the bottom part of the Valhalla page and watch the first movie they have posted. See a real viking =-)

This journey will happen at the very end of May 2010, I will hem the curtains up there and I would like to see them hanging there before I put the final stitch to them. I will let you know how it goes =-)

In the meantime I am working on tapestries to take to Denmark with SEVEN in August 2010, stay tuned and when the words come swooping in again I will fly to the keyboard and keep you posted.

This spring rain is so cold crisp and delicious, just what the pastures, fields and woods need.